AMERICA SINGS! Free Concert Celebrates
NEA, Victoria Hutter
June 2, 2006
Washington, D.C. - AMERICA SINGS!, a free performance open to the public, will celebrate America’s rich choral tradition on Sunday, June 11 at 2 PM at the Music Center at Strathmore in Bethesda, Maryland. The fast-paced, 90-minute concert will feature more than 325 singers in a kaleidoscope of music from the Revolutionary War to the present by significant American choral composers. This unique concert utilizes not only the stage of the Music Center at Strathmore but also the full concert hall to create a surround-sound experience showcasing the extraordinary range and diversity of choral music.
The concert is a dual celebration. It marks the culmination of the 29th annual conference of Chorus America, the membership organization for choruses in North America, and launches the choral component of the National Endowment for the Arts’ national initiative American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius.
NEA Chairman Dana Gioia said, “On the occasion of the Arts Endowment's 40th anniversary, I'm delighted that we can celebrate our country's artistic achievements with an exemplary initiative, American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of Artistic Genius. The choral component of the program is particularly well suited to showcase our nation’s rich artistic legacy with its focus on choral works by a diverse group of American composers. Some works will be familiar to audiences, some less well known but all offer remarkable listening experiences.”
“The June 11 kickoff concert will be full of surprises, drawing talent from some of the most outstanding choruses, chorus leaders, and composers in this country.” said Ann Meier Baker, President and CEO of Chorus America. “The variety of choruses included in this special program illustrates the breadth and depth of choral activity in this country,” Philip Brunelle, founder and artistic director of Minneapolis’ VocalEssence, serves as the artistic director of the concert and the American Masterpieces: Choral Music initiative.
The NEA’s choral initiative supports seven regional choral festivals and tours across the country that highlight an American repertoire. The seven organizations that received a total of $400,000 in grants for the initiative are Brazeal Dennard Chorale (Detroit, MI), Cantus (Minneapolis, MN), Conspirare (Austin, TX), Georgia Southern University Research and Service Foundation (Statesboro, GA), Providence Singers (Providence, RI), Seattle Pro Musica Society (Seattle, WA), and the Virginia Symphony (Norfolk, VA).
A list of performers for AMERICA SINGS! is below. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the ticket office of the Music Center at Strathmore at 301-581-5100 or www.strathmore.org. To view a schedule of other choral
concerts taking place during the Chorus America conference, go to www.chorusamerica.org
Chorus America is the association for choruses of all kinds in the U.S. and Canada. Its mission is to strengthen choruses and increase appreciation of choral music so that more people are enriched by its beauty and power. Choral singing is the most popular form of public participation in the arts with more than 250,000 choruses in virtually every community in the country. This special event is the finale of Chorus America’s 29th Annual Conference, which brought hundreds of chorus leaders to Washington, DC for five days of sessions, concerts, and networking events.
This year, the National Endowment for the Arts marks its 40th anniversary of leadership in the arts. The NEA is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the largest national funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.
PROGRAM FOR AMERICA SINGS!
The United States Army Chorus and United States
Lt. Col. John Clanton, Director
The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
The Heritage Signature Chorale
Stanley J. Thurston, Music Director
VocalEssence Ensemble Singers (Minneapolis, MN)
Philip Brunelle, Founder & Artistic Director
The Young People’s Chorus of New York City (NYC)
Francisco J. Nunez, Founder & Artistic Director
RINGERS, barbershop quartet
Members are Rob Seay V, Scott Disney, Mike Pinto, and Alan Mazzoni
Comprises singers from the following Washington-area choruses:
The Washington Chorus
Robert Shafer, Music Director
Cathedral Choral Society
Dr. J. Reilly Lewis, Music Director
Choral Arts Society of Washington
Norman Scribner, Founder & Artistic Director
Cantate Chamber Singers
Gisele Becker, Artistic Director
Master Chorale of Washington
Donald J. McCullough, Artistic Director
Gretchen Kuhrmann, Artistic Director
Diana Saez, Music Director
Fairfax Choral Society, Inc.
Douglas Mears, Artistic Director
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